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paul valery Quotes

Paul Valery Quotes

Birth Date: 1871-10-30 (Monday, October 30th, 1871)
Date of Death: 1945-07-20 (Friday, July 20th, 1945)



    • The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.
    • Collect all the facts that can be collected about the life of Racine and you will never learn from them the art of his verse. All criticism is dominated by the outworn theory that the man is the cause of the work as in the eyes of the law the criminal is the cause of the crime. Far rather are they both the effects.
    • You have neither the patience that weaves long lines nor a feeling for the irregular, nor a sense of the fittest place for a thing ... For you intelligence is not one thing among many. You ... worship it as if it were an omnipotent beast ... a man intoxicated on it believes his own thoughts are legal decision, or facts themselves born of the crowd and time. He confuses his quick changes of heart with the imperceptible variation of real forms and enduring Beings .... You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresitible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time.
    • We civilizations now know ourselves mortal.
    • The sea, the ever renewing sea!
    • The wind is rising...we must attempt to live.
    • Poetry is simply literature reduced to the essence of its active principle. It is purged of idols of every kind, of realistic illusions, of any conceivable equivocation between the language of 'truth' and the language of 'creation.'
    • Science is feasible when the variables are few and can be enumerated; when their combinations are distinct and clear. We are tending toward the condition of science and aspiring to do it. The artist works out his own formulas; the interest of science lies in the art of making science.
    • Science means simply the aggregate of all the recipes that are always successful. All the rest is literature.
    • An intelligent woman is a woman with whom one can be as stupid as one wants.
    • The painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen.
    • The very object of an art, the principle of its artifice, is precisely to impart the impression of an ideal state in which the man who reaches it will be capable of spontaneously producing, with no effort of hesitation, a magnificent and wonderfully ordered experession of his nature and our destinies.
    • For the musician, before he has begun his work, all is in readiness so that the operation of his creative spirit may find, right from the start, the appropriate matter and means, without any possibility of error. He will not have to make this matter and means submit to any modification; he need only assemble elements which are clearly defined and ready-made. But in how different a situation is the poet! Before him is ordinary language, this aggregate of means which are not suited to his purpose, not made for him. There have not been physicians to determine the relationships of these means for him; there have not been constructors of scales; no diapason, no metronome, no certitude of this kind. He has nothing but the coarse instrument of the dictionary and the grammar. Moreover, he must address himself not to a special and unique sense like hearing, which the musician bends to his will, and which is, besides, the organ par excellence of expectation and attention; but rather to a general and diffused expectation, and he does so through a language which is a very odd mixture of incoherent stimuli.
    • A work is never completed except by some accident such as weariness, satisfaction, the need to deliver, or death: for, in relation to who or what is making it, it can only be one stage in a series of inner transformations.
    • Poe is the only impeccable writer. He was never mistaken.
    • That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.
    • God created man, and finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a female companion so that he might feel his solitude more acutely.
    • The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.
    • Politeness is organized indifference.
    • Politics is the art of stopping people from minding their own business.
    • Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
    • A businessman is a hybrid of a dancer and a calculator.
    • A good poet is of no more use to his country than a good petanque player.
    • A man who is 'of sound mind' is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
    • A poem is never finished; it's always an accident that puts a stop to it-that is to say, gives it to the public.
    • Ma main se sent touchee aussi bien qu'elle touche ; reel veut dire cela, et rien de plus.
    • Modern man no longer works at what cannot be abbreviated.
    • On a toujours cherche des explications quand c'etait des representations qu'on pouvait seulement essaye d'inventer.
    • The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
    • The future is not what it used to be.
    • The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.
    • To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.
    • paul valery

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